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280zx's with Ls swaps

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i used jtr small block chevy mount kit and Ls to sbc adapter plates. i did some modifications to them that i talked about on the previous page of this thread, pictures too. subhuman had another idea that probably worked that he also talked about. there is nothing that will just straight up bolt in. for the tranny cross member i also used jtr for a 5-speed trans.and had to make an extension plate for the extra length of the t-56. good luck, and dont rush it. there is alot of lil obstacles you will just have to be creative with. let me know when you get stuck on the next thing.  

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Say G-Tech, I have been eye balling the Dirty dingo motor mounts lately for the S30's I don't see why they wouldn't work in our s130's with a little modification as well. not 100% sure how much you can slide them forward though, but it's a thought.  Hooker makes adapter plates as well, I don't know how far they move things forward either though.






Couple different options for modifications.

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They look like they would work. I thought what I did with the SBC mounts and the LS adapter plates made perfect sense in theory but it didnt. It worked but took more work than I thought it would...I said before I like dirty dingo stuff. I bet those would work well

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  • 2 months later...

A little status update on my build. Been hauling ass seeing as we head back to Texas July 5th...

  Before we wrapped the rear floor up I had to address the beat rails and get them situated. Part of the floors got cut out above the rails so I could gain access, I welded a 1/2' bolt to some small pieces of 1/8" flat plate and tacked these to the rail. Then used my slide hammer and 1/2" all thread and a coupler, heated the rail up with the torch and pulled out most of it. What we couldn't get with the slide hammer we used a piece of 3/8 x 3" flat plate and beat them out with the 5lb hammer, it sucked. Next I bent up all the sheaths for the rail, opted to do this instead of cut them out so it preserved the structural integrity of the sub frame. Pictures are self explanatory. I included the measurements so if anybody wants to do this it's there. It took me a dozen tries to get the right measurements, so your welcome. There's some pictures of the rear floor, everything is tied in and back in place, we still have a couple spots to weld it in solid, just waiting on my buddy to get freed up so we can finish buttoning it up. 











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Onto the floors, also a PITA. I made forms out of 3/4" ply, cut them out and routed them. then I screwed them to another piece of ply, clamped them down and using a torch periodically hand pounded them out. If I had a bearing press it would have made the job so much easier, but it was worth the experience I suppose. Regardless The floors are now back in and welded solid, probably way more sturdy than the original OEM stuff. We doubled up over the rear sub frame mounts with 18ga and then I got grade 8 bolts and welded those to some 1/8" flat plate which will get welded to the floor. Onto paint.









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  Interior engine bay and underside have been primed with Upol Acid #8 at this point. I have been bouncing back and forth between fabricating the radiator support and Por 15'n all the suspension components, while lathing Aluminum bushings. The radiator gussets, supports and sheet metal are all welded in at this point. We also welded 1/8" plate over the front strut towers, rear will get it too from the bottom though. I picked up some TTT camber plates and everything has been drilled out now, I still need to notch the towers for adjustment but have enough on my plate for the time being. I'll get back around to it later. The front cross member, sub frame and trailing arms, under dash bar, steering column and various odd n' ends all have two coats of Por 15 on them and are ready for re-assembly. I have all new Poly bushings and wheel bearings ready to go in, but that's just an afternoon of work so right now my focus is body work and getting the car blocked and banging some dents out.


  G-Tech or anyone else...How far over the front cross member does the harmonic balancer hang? I'm using the corvette balancer and only running the alternator and water pump. I really want to do a V mount but the mock up in the pictures are quite extreme, the radiator will fit on the back side as well but I really want that extreme kick. One more for you guys..did you cut the OE transmission tabs out of the tunnel to run the GM transmission? I am assuming so. Some pics would be awesome if some body could throw some up.


I need to go home and get some sanding done tonight, I have a long ways to go and a short time to get there. If I get done at a reasonable time I'll try and post some more pictures up. The motor should be out of the machine shop in the next couple weeks   :twisted: !!!!













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looking good as always. like what you are doing with the radiator. here are couple pics of were my motor sits.i basically put it an inch or 2 from the fire wall.... keep going, mayb by next spring you'll have one badass s130.



Edited by G-Tech
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  • 2 weeks later...

  Thanks for the pictures G-Tech! Looking at your set up I should be able to kick that radiator out where I want it, still have to figure out where I'm going to stick that massive Holset though. Dear god I hope I have the motor in it by next spring! I ordered a 6 point roll bar from Chassis Engineering down in Florida, it should be here Friday. They have a pretty sweet template you print off and send them the measurements and they bend it up and ship it to you. I picked it up for $174! + shipping but, hey under 5 bills it's screaming, probably cheaper than you could make it. I'll snap a couple pictures Friday night when it comes in. Best part is, they will keep the measurements on file. So that means...all us S130, 280zx guys n' gals will have a bent to fit source for roll bars!!

  A buddy and I are running down to Idaho Sunday to pillage a parts car for some odd's n' ends so that will be fun, nothing like road trips and part hunting. Gonna order seats before the weekend as well so we can get the roll bar in when I get back from Washington on the 5th. I need to finish up the plinth's and spreader plates Thursday while my buddy wraps up the welding. Gotta get this sucker painted by the 12th of June. I put the wife and boy on the plane for Texas the 23rd of June, so my window is quickly closing to get the Ol' Girl painted and back on the ground.




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  • 1 month later...

  Hey everybody, just checking in. We got moved back to Texas and found a place to live and we can start moving in this weekend!! I honestly don't have much concept of time over the last couple months. We got the 6 point roll bar in and rubberlined the whole underside of the car and under the seats back to the rear valance on the inside(-our weld areas around the plinths).  I could not have done this build in 8 months without the help of my buddy Ki. This was the 4th roll bar/cage set up he has done as well as 300+ feet of tig welding and honestly, he even sprayed the car as well. I did all the heating, cutting and hand formed all the floors, plinths and spreader plates and reassembled the car to where she is sitting now. I have learned an immense amount of information through all this and I'm really fortunate to have a friend that just loves cars and hot rod shit as much as I do.


  OK, so ultimately I'm 6'2" and was sitting level with the top of the roll bar with a helmet on, this was a no go. so we ditched the stock seat sliders and went stationary seat mounts, that netted us 3/4". we still needed to ditch an 1 1/2" so we decided to channel the interior of the roof (we called the nhra and they said it was legal as long as the welds were full surround and could be seen with a mirror for inspection). So we cut the F*%$ out of the roof and made it work. You can see from the pictures how we built the plinths up so we could maintain a even crush on all the spreader plates. the spreaders for the rear down tubes were a huge PITA. again nothing a torch couldn't solve. 


  I believe once the roll bar showed up the first week in June, it took us about 3 1/2 weeks to get it welded in, door and harness bars bent, plinths made spreader plates bent and formed. Ki burnt the torch out on the tig, that took a week for the local boys to get that shit in from Seattle. Last day of work was June 23rd when I put the wife and boy on the plane and we worked 14 hour days for 10 days straight. We dropped it off the rotisserie Thursday June 29th painted it, put it back together on July 3rd and had it loaded on a car dolly the 5th and drove it 2000 miles with 3 coats of fresh clear on it. All that and she held together and only got a couple paint chips. 


  Game plan is to get it wired up and situated with the L28et in it so I can drive it and get the feel for it again while I save up for the intake and fuel management for the Lq4, as well acquiring parts for the brake, suspension and drive line upgrades that it so badly needs. The "LS" build will continue and I will try to post as much as I can to keep this thread alive. If you guys have questions how we did stuff feel free to ask. I made templates for everything and would be willing to send you copies for a nominal fee ;)











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My buddies flew all the way up from TX to drive down with me. Needless to say they were not happy that I was still assembling the car the night before we were set to leave after they had been packing the truck all day. We still left on schedule, couple hours later than they wanted but hey, we made it. Now I just have all the fun work of motor swaps and electrical wiring. it was a crazy experience and I don't think I would trade it for anything else. It got three coats of clear and still needs a final block and polish in a few months. the hood will get a low gloss JDM matte finish.










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  • 2 months later...

thought i would refresh this post and see if there was anyone else out there that has done this swap. i know there is a couple s130's done with LS motors on the WEB. maybe they r not on this forum much or whatever. ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE?!?!?!?!

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  • 9 months later...

Yes, I'm here. I'm currently in the process of installing an L33 5.3L into my Baby. Ive had the pleasure of owning her for almost 8 years.  Reading this thread has terrified me and now I'm afraid I've bitten off more than i can chew. I'll definitely be bugging you with some questions if you're still around for it. ill post pictures of my progress as it happens. 

So far I have purchased the engine with all accessories, wire harness, and stock computer.  I've also bought a 4L80E transmission (not the T56 magnum i wanted but what i could afford). Tonight i ordered the Torque Converter. I don't think my build will be as nearly as nice as yours G-Tech since I'm rolling on an EXTREME budget but I'm very excited to "upgrade" to a V8 with 300+ ponies at the crank.



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AWESOME!!! welcome to the club. if your on a budget this build is kind of pushing it but you did great picking up an auto trans. its going to be less wear and tear on the rear end and half shafts and your suspension will be ok for now. you may get a little too much squat in the rear but you can figure that out later. beeing on a budget means you will have to do some extra research to figure out how to keep what you have. like figuring out what gauges you can keep. you will have to upgrade fuel pump but you might get lucky and be able to keep your stock fuel lines. you will wanna check out the LS forums for info on some of that. the car will love having that motor though. it will still be light and handle well and 300hp will get you a great improvement. start with getting as much info, parts and planning you can before you make the "no going back" move :)... looks like you have a very clean car to start with. feel free to ask me questions along the way. i have a big change to mine finally happening this weekend that ill post, nothing to do with the motor though. im all done in that category for right now

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I can't wait to see what else you're doing with your build. Today I worked on getting the transmission into a new housing because the other had been dropped and busted. Hit a speed bump assembling it back together though with a retainer clip, can't get it in behind the cast tabs. Here's some pictures of the progress though.  That's my brother helping me out. I did have a question, do you know of ANY kind of exhaust manifold that will fit without modifications. I don't think my stock truck manifold is smaller than Hookers. 







Edited by Superj243
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keep trucking along. there will be plenty of speed bumps. there is no road blocks though. i still have my first header set up that i would be willing to part with. i have a set of hooker manifolds modified for the steering shaft and a set of block huggers for the pass side. neither will fit on both sides. i think $300 plus shipping would be fair cause i would have to sell you both sets cause what would i do with one and one. but both sets are ceramic coated and holding up well. thats about the only set that will bolt up. or you do what i did and buy sets from jegs and return them if they dont fit but i tried them all but if you mount your motor slightly different then mine, mayb something different will fit. the steering shaft is biggest deal and the brake lines on pass side is why the manifolds wont work on that side. i had a small block chevy in first and they have block huggers that merge into one collector really quick and thats why they fit around steering shaft. LS block huggers dont merge into one until further down and there is no cramming 4 pipes between shaft and frame rail. i did it with billy boat headers but was alot of modifying. let me know, goodluck.....

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